Pier and beam has been in use since 1910, and if you go around you will see all old houses in United States are standing on beams. Pier and beams are considered to be stronger than slabs because they are metal and heavy cemented pillars that can hold firmly the entire house. A house is a huge investment thus the material used in it has to be good. However, it is really difficult to guarantee the strength of any base.
Whether it’s slab foundation or pier and beam foundation every base needs correction and repairing with time. Too much of wear and tear due to moisture, heat and water makes the material exhausted, therefore they show signs of damages.
There are many reasons of beams and piers getting damaged –
- Improper spacing in piers
- Soil movement
- Stagnant water
Beams are of wooden substance which can get rotten due to moisture humidity and stagnant water from drainage. Due to moisture, mold, rodents and insects, damage wood by turning it into dust. There is crawlspace under the foundation, in case water gets collected there due to rain, improper drainage system or leakage from water pipe, they can rotten wood easily. That is why it is necessary to analyze the status of the crawlspace before installing beam and also in case of repairing, what would be the cost involved.
Improper spacing in piers
Piers are mostly spaced six feet from each other. The more the piers are, firmer is the foundation. In case, the gap is more between piers it makes it difficult for them to hold the foundation properly by sagging and making it uneven. If adequate number of beams as well as piers are used, the structure needs less repairing.
Whether it is slab or pier and beams, each foundation is completely dependent on the type of soil underground. If the soil isn’t concrete it will push the foundation under the soil, misbalancing the house which leads to cracks and crooked position. Soil can get moist which loosens the particles and when it becomes dry, it starts shrinking which further forces the house to shrink. That is one major reason why you see cracks on the walls.
These foundations are not in direct contact to ground therefore, after rain or improper drainage system water collects beneath the crawlspace. This moist the soil further and also allows seepage on walls and flooring. You need to have proper drainage system to keep the crawlspace always dry.
To get reasonable and affordable repairing of the house, one should keep few things in mind before setting up any foundation.